“It was an exceptionally boring race until the rain came down,” Russell said.
“It sort of came out of nowhere as it wasn’t really on the forecast.
“I’m really kicking myself because P3 was almost guaranteed after pitting. There was a yellow flag, I backed off and as soon as I touched the brakes I locked up and followed [Lance] Stroll up the escape road.”
Hamilton and Ocon had already made a switch from the Hard compound Pirelli to the yellow-walled Medium before the rain soaked the circuit. This meant they were forced to stop for a second time to fit the Intermediate, giving Russell an advantage before he made the mistake.
“It’s probably a lesson that actually when yore not on it and you’re not focused you make those mistakes.
“Probably if there wasn’t a yellow flag there I would be focused more and I wouldn’t have gone off. Cost the team a conformable P3.”
“It’s very disappointing when you do everything right for 98 per cent [of the race] but that one tiny mistake cost everything”
Russell then collided with Sergio Perez as he rejoined the circuit at Turn 5. The Brit confirmed that the clash “definitely damaged the car” and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to continue at first.
“I don’t believe it was clear to many people that we were effectively P3 on track and lost it,” he said. “A lot of people came to me saying ‘well done on P5’ not knowing that I made a big mistake that lost us P3.”
Russell ended the race in P5 behind both Hamilton and podium sitter, Ocon.